This debut collection by Cave Canem fellow Geffrey Davis burrows under the surface of gender, addiction, recovery, clumsy love, bitterness, and faith. The tones explored—tender, comic, wry, tragic—interrogate male subjectivity and privilege, as they examine their “embarrassed desires” for familial connection, sexual love, compassion, and repair. Revising the Storm speaks to the sons and daughters affected by the drug/crack epidemic of the ’80s and addresses issues of masculinity and its importance in family.
Revising the Storm is one of the best first books I've read in a long time. Its subjects—childhood, an absentee father, marriage, divorce, remarriage, miscarriage, birth—are not new, but the approach is fresh, the language lyrical, the poems well-tuned and masterfully wrought. Geffrey Davis is spellbinding. He knows how to bring even the smallest heartbreaking detail to light. Tenderly but firmly, he leads us down many paths toward the center of a life. [...] There are delicate, intricate poems here, stormed by memory, always in motion. If the family is the greatest catastrophe, it is also the source of our most profound joy. Geffrey Davis reminds us how to survive and endure both. (Foreword)
--Dorianne Laux, The Book of Men
“In my previous life as a deer,” begins one of the many terrific poems here, “I honed my brand/ of nervousness, balanced instinct and memory.” It is as if Robert Lowell’s Life Studies was remixed for the contemporary moment as Geffrey Davis translates and transforms our contemporary modes of love, violence and history. Revising the Storm feels written by a poet who has traversed several previous lives and honed them into a language of beautiful survival. Urgent, tender, imaginative: this is a tremendous debut.
--Terrance Hayes, How to Be Drawn
Just when you’ve begun to wonder what’s become of contemporary poetry, Geffrey Davis turns up with his gorgeous phrases and constantly-idling mind. In these passionate and patiently crafted lyrics of male experience, the most urgent concerns always turn toward others. Revising the Storm has more substance, more searching and satisfying insight, and more emotional intelligence than most first collections. You will want to read it more than once.
--Julia Spicher Kasdorf, Poetry in America
Geffrey Davis is very much a poet who faces his terrors. He speaks of an intricate world of men—scarred fathers, scared sons, and sacred brothers—and devoted, protective, hurt women—mothers, nieces, lovers. With an unpretentious, buoyant lyricism, Davis tells stories that understand and understate the connections of living with family and loves, connections that are troubled yet unbreakable, connections that illuminate the difficult joys of being alert to poetry and life.
--David Biespiel, Charming Gardeners
Geffrey Davis interrogates masculinity—as brother, son, father, lover—to examine the sources of love’s enduring and failed aspects. Secular and sacred merge, when one speaker grieves a father’s “long romance/ with drugs” and another celebrates the man who “can rise, coughing/ from the ashes of himself.” An imaginative connection with nature evokes a “previous life as a deer” and the day the hunter “hit the muskiness of my hide// and the hot mercurial life beneath.” I admire Davis’ emotional vocabulary, his attentive generosity and tenderness. Keep your eye on this gifted newcomer.
--Robin Becker, Tiger Heron